Out in the Cold About COOL: An Analysis of U.S. Consumers' Awareness of Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labels for Beef
AbstractMandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is a policy that requires a label noting what country or countries from which many fresh food products derive. While some have favored the policy as a marketing tool, others have criticized it as confusing, expensive, and difficult to mandate. An online survey of U.S. beef consumers who were their households' primary grocery buyers (N=396) was conducted to examine their knowledge and awareness of COOL and the information sources they use to make food purchases. Only 10 respondents (2.5%) knew COOL stood for country-of-origin labeling, and 287 respondents (72.5%) indicated they had never heard of COOL. Despite an apparent lack of knowledge and awareness, a majority of the participants still supported the idea of mandatory COOL and preferred to have COOL for beef. The results indicated that more consumer education is needed about COOL. Further research is necessary to examine this policy as it diffuses among consumers.
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